Information, Answers & Reviews

More Options than Ever Before for Publishing Your Book

ImageScarcely a week goes by here at the library without an inquiry from someone who has self-published a book and wants us to buy it or accept it as a gift.  Not surprising in this community, which includes many writers as well as Author Solutions, one of the world's largest self-publishing businesses, and we know that last year, 300,000 titles were published through traditional publishers and 3,000,000 -- 10 times as many -- were self-published in this country.  As we struggle to find ways to evaluate and select books in this new environment with ten times more choices and without reviews, we want to support local writers in finding the best outlets for their creative endeavors.

On May 6 at 7 p.m. in the library auditorium, we'll be hosting Kevin Gray, media manager for Author Solutions, as he describes "More Options than Ever Before for Publishing Your Book." He'll suggest four paths now available for authors to get their books in the hands of readers and then answer questions from the audience.  We hope you'll join us; no registration is necessary.

If you're considering self-publishing, you might also want to check out Jane Friedman's blog "Writing, Reading and Publishing in a Digital Age."  Friedman has worked in publishing since the late 1990s and has in-depth knowledge of both the editorial and business sides of book and magazine publishing, as well as online media.

The Oxford English Dictionary

Meaning of EverythingThe Oxford English Dictionary is the premier dictionary of the English language.  It is famous for its easy-to-understand definitions and word etymology, which strives to record the earliest known usage.  The seemingly simple verbs set, make and put vie with each other for the longest entries - over 60,000 words each to describe all of the uses and senses!

The current editor of the OED, as it is commonly known, is set to retire later this year.  John Simpson was briefly interviewed on Morning Edition on NPR yesterday.  What makes his position newsworthy is that he is only the seventh editor of the dictionary since the project's beginning in 1879 and has been working in this high profile position of the world's most famous dictionary for more than 35 years.   

In addition to some specialized copies of the Oxford dictionaries for foreign languages and picture dictionaries, MCPL owns a compact version of the Oxford English Dictionary.  The print is so tiny, you need a zoom text reading machine (which MCPL also owns!) to really read any parts of this mammoth book. Read more »

E-Reference Library

Ever wonder whether you are really getting the best info when you search Google? Does your teacher tell you NOT TO USE THE INTERNET when you do research? If the answer to these questions is yes, then try our E-Reference Library!

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What is it?

Your library has always been the best place to find reliable, up to date information for research papers, assignments and general interest. We choose encyclopedias and reference books that we know will do the job and we make them easy to get to online. Our E-Reference Library is a great collection of reliable resources you can use from home. If you have a school assignment that requires looking up information on a topic, you should use our E-Reference Library.

 

How do you get to all this great stuff?

All you need is your library card! You can pick individual books to use, or you can just search across the entire collection. Each article or topical summary provides valuable information AND will give you the appropriate citation from the source. That's important because teachers want to know what reference books you are using and the citation will show them that you used something better than Wikipedia.

 

But doesn't this count as "using the Internet"?

No. The sources in the E-Reference Library are not available on the open web. These are purchased by the library for you to use. The books included in the E-Reference Library are reliable and reputable sources that have been published regularly for many years. The only difference is that you can use them online!

A Conversation about Art: Writing Ekphrastic Poems

ISBN: 
0802141579

We're in the closing days of National Poetry Month, and this Sunday if you'd like to compose a poem of your own, we're offering a program about writing ekphrastic poetry in partnership with The Writers Guild at Bloomington. It's at 2 p.m. this Sunday in Room 2B. Call 349-3228 to register. The word ekphrasis comes from the Greek and simply means description. The original Greek root phrazein meant to point out or explain. An added meaning was to name an inanimate thing.

Many of the Romantic poets celebrated art including John Keats in his "Ode to a Grecian Urn." The list of modern poets who have worked in the form include W.H. Auden, William Carlos Williams, Anne Sexton, Muriel Rukeyser, Greg Pape, and former poet laureate, Kay Ryan, among many others.

You can write about any art form in ekphrastic poety: sculpture, paintings, ceramics, prints, and photographs. Some poets describe the work in vivid detail; others just use the art piece for a jumping off point. This is especially true when an abstract painting is the subject of the poem as in the example I've included below. Read more »

While you wait for...Lincoln

Lincoln DVD imageSteven Spielberg's Lincoln currently has more hold requests than any other title in our collection! Whether you are waiting, have seen it already, or just want something else to watch, we have some other movies featuring our 16th President that might be of interest: He is featured briefly in D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation, Henry Fonda plays him as a younger man (without the beard) in John Ford's Young Mr. Lincoln. Sam Waterston also portrayed him as President in an adaptation of Gore Vidal's Lincoln. If you are specifically interested in the aftermath of his assassination you could try Robert Redford's The Conspirator. And, for some time-travelling non-seriousness, there's always Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure!

Read below for some more films about other U.S. Presidents
Read more »

Shakespeare's Birthday and the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Will in the WorldToday is Shakespeare's birthday and to celebrate a Goodreads contributer created a great infographic to help you select your next read.  A comedy?  A tragedy?  MCPL has works by Shakespeare, books to help you get through the plays and of course biographies.  One of the best biographies is Stephen Greenblatt's Will in the World.  Shakespeare expert and Harvard historian, Greenblatt does an excellent job of integrating a basic biography with the sights, sounds and feel of Elizabethan England.  This book is dense with detail, but also entirely readable is a great choice for both self professed Shakespeare know-it-alls and newcomers alike.

Seeing as it is a classics sort of day, I thought I would also link to the Lizzie Bennet Diaries.  This fictional video blog chronicles the modern day Lizzie Bennet, her sisters Lydia and Jane, and her best friend Charlotte Wu as they navigate between the pressure of their parents and potential boyfriends including the new-to-the-neighborhood Bing Lee. Read more »

Our Changing Planet

ISBN: 
9780199933877

It's Earth Day. Senator Gaylord Nelson was the driving force behind the first one which occurred in 1970 as a day of education about environmental issues. As I scanned the new releases in the environmental section, this book caught my eye. It was a sobering read but one that was very thought-provoking. World-renowned legal scholar, Andrew Guzman, wrote Overheated. In it, he examines the political and sociological changes from climate change that the author reports have already started to occur.  Not just flooding and mega-storms, but also droughts, food scarcity, refugees forced from their land, lack of water for agriculture, etc. In his preface, the author states that "climate change will affect nearly everyone on this planet."

The chapter topics reveal his major concerns: one on flooding shows how some island nations will disappear, and  that at least one very populated one - Bangladesh - will suffer massive flooding that will lead to migrations of millions of refugees. The chapter entitled "A Thirsty World" depicts how the melting of glaciers will affect the water supply of many people on earth, not only in India, Pakistan, Argentina, and Chile, but also in our American West. He predicts that this will impact both our food supply and the prices of commodities.

In "Climate Wars: A Shower of Sparks" he hypothesizes how the conflict in Darfur in the 1990s may have been the first war sparked by climate change. Guzman also says that more wars will be caused by a scarcity of resources. He is very concerned about the Middle East, already one of the most arid areas in the world. Read more »

The King, the President and the Mummy

ImageImagine, if you will, being in a nursing home; you have limited mobility and most of the staff believe that you are suffering from dementia, but you know you are not who they think you are. You are in fact Elvis Aaron Presley. You traded places with an Elvis impersonator to get a little peace and quiet and he managed to kill himself, making it very difficult to go back to your rightful place. Read more »

A Tale of Two Bombs

Atomic BombThe year is 1964.  America and Russia are in the midst of a cold war and nuclear proliferation.  The possibility of nuclear war is on almost everyone's mind. The questions are asked, "Could we start a war by accident?" and "Once in motion, could we stop such a war?"   In 1964 two films were made that attempted to answer that question, in very different ways. Read more »

If You Liked The Paris Wife, Try These

ISBN: 
9780345521309

Fowler, Therese Anne - Z: a Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald 

This novel focuses on the life of Zelda: dancer, writer, and famous flapper who married Scott Fitzgerald. The Fitzgeralds were considered the couple of the twenties.  Zelda and Scott spent time in Paris in the same social circle as Hemingway and his wife where the hard-drinking and romances took a toll on both marriages. If you've read about Zelda in Scott's or her own writing, this fascinating, multi-talented person will intrigue you.

Hart, Lenore - The Raven's Bride

If you love Edgar Allen Poe's famous poem "Annabel Lee", this novel about Poe's doomed wife and first cousin, Virginia, will interest you.  The Poes married when Virginia was thirteen and E.A. was twenty-seven; her mother signed a document that she was of age. Like Hemingway, Poe was a big drinker, and Virginia had to put up with drunkenness and poverty.  Another story of a literary marriage where the wife was both muse and care-giver.

Hemingway, Ernest  - The Sun Also Rises 

This is often considered the most famous novel of the "Lost Generation", that crowd of artists, musicians, and writers who left the U.S. during the 20s to live an expat lifestyle in Paris and other cities. Jake Barnes, a jaded WWI vet, travelled from the bars of Paris to Spain for the spring bullfights. Hemingway describes the expatriate lifestyle amid the violence, camaraderie, and life and death risk for bulls and men. Read more »

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